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Will not bow to threats to behead hostage: Pak

June 28, 2004 17:44 IST
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Pakistan on Monday refused to bow to threats by armed insurgents to behead a Pakistani labourer held hostage in Iraq, after television footage was broadcast showing him surrounded by hooded gunmen.

Amjad Hafeez, a labourer from a small village in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir who had travelled to the Middle East in search of work, was shown on Al-Arabiya television yesterday surrounded by four armed men, who said they would kill him within 72 hours unless local prisoners were released.

In the video, Hafeez asked President Pervez Musharraf to close Pakistan's mission in Baghdad and repatriate Pakistanis from Iraq.

A statement from Pakistan's Foreign ministry said it 'reaffirms that its policy is not to accede to conditions or demands put forth by any hostage-takers'.

The foreign ministry has ordered Pakistan's liaison mission in Baghdad to try and locate Hafeez.

"The mission has been in contact with the Iraqi  authorities and religious leaders to secure the release of Mr Hafeez," it said.

Hafeez was employed by US contractor Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) as a driver to ferry supplies from neighbouring Kuwait to the Iraqi city of Balad, 75 kilometres north of Baghdad.

Hafeez is one of two new hostages announced since yesterday, less than a week after insurgents beheaded South Korean Kim Sun-Il after Seoul refused to withdraw a planned deployment of 3,000 troops to northern Iraq.

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